THE STRATEGIES FOR EFFECTIVE TEACHING OF BIOLOGY IN THE SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Background of the Study
Science and technology have proved significantly useful in man’s daily struggle to control his immediate environment and build a virile world. Specifically Jegede and Brown (2008) opined that sound national development emanates mainly from the areas of science and technology. Okeke (2007) stated that science and technology are like two inseparable twins that mainly hold National development and sustainability. Science is a systematic process of obtaining testable knowledge about nature and natural occurrences, utilization in the careful manner of observation and experimentation. Technology, on the other hand, is the process of designing and utilizing techniques to convert resources to material objects. Most developing nations as a result of the visible role of science and technology now make frantic efforts to improve on the study of science and allied science subjects in their schools, for instance in Nigeria, the National policy on education stipulates that admission into the Nation’s tertiary institutions should be based on 60:40 ratio of science and Arts related subject respectively (Federal Ministry of Education (FME, 2004).
The study of biology is essential for the nation’s building, scientific and technological development. Without sound knowledge and a wholesome attitude towards biology, the much needed and vouched technological breakthrough may not be achieved. For instance, the knowledge of biology is brought to play, in the area of manufacturing and processing industry, medicine, food production, and pharmaceuticals among others. Osuafor and Okoro (2013) said that science education is imperative for useful living in any society. It is the center for producing resources necessary for socio-economic, scientific, and technological development need for the advancement of any nation.
From the above, notwithstanding much has been said about the factor that hinders the effective teaching and learning of biology and has caused a lot of backward and poor academics performances of a senior secondary school student in Ebonyi State and Nigeria entirely. The implication of this persistent poor performance of students in biology due to a lot of factors created a greater percentage of them to fall to get good grades that will take them to a higher institution of her studies. This has been a source of the problem to well-meaning Nigerians, parents, governments, researchers, and science educators.
Researchers in science education in Nigeria has continued to seek ways of improving the situation and maximize meaningful learning of biology by the students. Biology is described as a science of life and plays a vital role in the life of every human being. It is very vast with many decisions including zoology, botany, ecology, genetics, morphology anatomy, physiology histology, microbiology, biochemistry evolution, and the more advanced cell biology, molecular biology among others. Apart from the interrelatedness that exists among these branches, biology is closely related to another science subjects like agricultural science, chemistry, Geography, mathematics, and physics. Little wonder that biology finds application in many specialized areas like medicine, pharmacy, food production, and processing industries, biotechnology, genetics engineering, agriculture and horticulture, agriculture and environmental protection, tourism industry among others (Osuafor and Okoro 2013).
Considering biology’s many branches and vast application in every field of human endeavor as enunciated above the importance of biology in the nation's economic development cannot be over-emphasized. It is therefore becoming very necessary that efforts are geared towards finding the last solution to the student's academic poor performances in the subject. To this end, several factors have been identified by researchers as been responsible for effective teaching and learning which definitely lead to poor performances. These include the following; lack of qualified and experienced teachers, lack of educational instructional materials like a textbook, visual and audiovisual aids, laboratories, conducive learning environment, overloaded syllabuses, lack of interest in the parts of the students, poor teaching method/interaction pattern on the parts of the teachers, large class size/high teacher, family background (Nwagbo, 2011).
Ncharam (2008) has established that students' inability to sit down and study, comprehend what the curriculum talked about and highly result in poor performances in external examinations. This also results in general backwardness in technological and scientific advancement. Akpan (2009) rightly documented that proper understanding of concept and concentration science-related subject and this contribute to no small measure to better the academics achievement and performances of students. He went further to say that, to such students, there is, therefore, no nature of manipulated questions that might be posed to them in that particular concept that they cannot be able to provide solutions to, since they have mastery and regular practice of the concept involved in the question. This would give the students the opportunity to think ethically, manage and use available resources within their environment effectively to develop the Nation.
Statement of the Problem
The poor performance of the secondary school students in Biology examinations (such as in SSCE and JAMB examinations had been a matter of concern to both the government and Nigerian society.
This is because Biology is one of the most important science subjects since it deals with life and living things. In addition, a sound knowledge of Biology will prepare the student for a degree program in such vital courses as medicine, pharmacy, microbiology, nursing, and many others. Despite all the efforts being made by the various ministries of Education in the country to enhance students’ performance in Biology, the problem still remains. Why do students perform poorly in the biology examination? What are the current methods of teaching biology in secondary? What are the strategies for effective teaching of biology in secondary schools? These questions present the problems that necessitated this research.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of these researches are as follows:
i. To highlight and discuss the relevance of a well-equipped laboratory to the teaching of biology in secondary schools.
ii To identify the impact of regular test/assessments both practical tests and problems — type tests on students’ proficiency in biology.
iii. To ascertain the effect of the use of professional biology teachers (resources teachers) on the teaching of biology in secondary schools.
Significance of the Study
The findings to be made in this research if implemented will benefit both the teachers and the students in many ways.
Firstly, the study will boost the understanding of the students on the subject (biology/and will enhance their performance in biology examinations. It will also help teacher educators to design an effective training program for the teachers to improve their worth such as workshops, seminars, conferences, etc.
Secondly, the study will reduce the excessive workload of the teachers and will provide them with more time to effectively evaluate the students’ proficiency.
Scope and Delimitation of the Study
The scope of this study borders on the problems hindering the effective teaching of biology in secondary schools. This research will be limited to the biology teachers of the state-owned secondary schools located in Ebonyi L.G.A. of Ebonyi state
This study will be guided by the following research questions:
i. To what extent does the use of well-equipped biology laboratory affect the teaching and learning of biology in secondary schools?
ii What is the impact of regular tests/assessments on students' proficiency in biology?
iii. How does the use of professional biology teachers (resource teachers) affect the teaching and learning of biology in secondary schools?.